Brad Parks

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Brad Parks (born July 13, 1974) is an American author of mystery novels and thrillers. He is the winner of the 2010 Shamus Award, the 2010 Nero Award and the 2013 and 2014 Lefty Award. He is the only author to have won all three of those awards. His protagonist and narrator, investigative reporter Carter Ross, writes about crime for a fictional newspaper The Newark Eagle-Examiner, based in Newark, New Jersey. His novels are known for mixing humor with the gritty realism of their urban setting. Library Journal has called him "a gifted storyteller (with shades of Mark Twain or maybe Dave Barry)."[1]

Background[edit]

Parks was born in New Jersey but grew up in Ridgefield, Connecticut, where he attended Ridgefield High School. He first started writing professionally for his hometown newspaper, The Ridgefield Press, at age 14, covering high school sports.[2] He attended Dartmouth College, founding his own newspaper, The Sports Weekly (now defunct) and singing with the Dodecaphonics, a co-ed a cappella group. While still a student, he worked as a stringer for The New York Times and as an intern for The Boston Globe. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth in 1996, he interned at The Washington Post, and was eventually hired full-time by the paper, which assigned him to a bureau in Manassas, Virginia.[3] In 1998, he moved to The Star-Ledger and began working as a sports features writer and, later, a news feature writer. In 2007, Crossroads, his four-part series on the 1967 Newark riots won the New Jersey Press Association's top prize for enterprise reporting.[4] He now lives in Virginia with his wife and two small children.

Career[edit]

Parks began writing fiction at age 26 in the cafe at a Barnes & Noble as a way to kill time while his wife was studying for her graduate degree.[3] The inspiration for his published first novel, Faces of the Gone, was a 2004 quadruple homicide in Newark that he covered as a journalist.[5] The novel sold to St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books in 2008 to be published on December 8, 2009. Prior to publication, Harlan Coben called it a "terrific debut." Library Journal gave it a starred review calling it "the most hilariously funny and deadly serious mystery debut since Janet Evanovich's One for the Money."[6] The novel went on to win the 2010 Shamus Award for best first novel;[7] and the 2010 Nero Award for best American mystery.[8] Faces of the Gone is the only book to have ever won both awards.[9]

Parks' second book, Eyes of the Innocent, was based on Parks' reporting of the Subprime mortgage crisis and House flipping that became common in Newark and other cities prior to the Global financial crisis of 2008–2009. It received a starred review from Library Journal, which called it "as good if not better (than) his acclaimed debut."[10] The Wall Street Journal described protagonist Ross as "engaging" and said the book was "a capable follow-up to this author's award-winning debut."[11] The Free Lance–Star described it as "a book that melds the style of a Bob Woodward and a Janet Evanovich." [12]

Parks' third book, The Girl Next Door, delves into the struggles of the newspaper industry and how a contentious union negotiation ends up imperiling a woman described as being like the girl next door. The novel won the Lefty Award for best humorous mystery.[13] In doing so, Parks became the first author to have won the Lefty, Nero and Shamus Awards.[14] The Girl Next Door also received a starred review from Booklist, which called it "... a masterpiece."[15] Library Journal called the Carter Ross series "a refreshing tonic for the mystery soul.".[16] Shelf Awareness gave it a starred review, calling it "perfect for the reader who loves an LOL moment but wants a mystery that's more than empty calories."[17] Kirkus Reviews named it one of the top 100 works of fiction of 2012, making it one of just a handful of mysteries to win that honor.[18]

Parks' fourth book, The Good Cop, deals with the subject of illegal gun smuggling and starts with the suicide of a Newark police officer. It received a starred review from Booklist, which called it "a tautly written page-turner with charm and humor." [19] Library Journal opined "Parks's award-winning series is essential reading." [20] RT Book Reviews said the book "will please even the most discerning reader."[21] The Associated Press called it "a great lighthearted read."[22] It has been nominated for a 2014 Shamus Award.[23]

The fifth book in the Carter Ross series, The Player, delves into the topics of toxic waste and organized crime. It received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal.[24] The Washington Post called it "one of the best portraits of a working reporter since (Michael) Connelly's THE POET."[25] RT Book Reviews made it a "Top Pick!" and opined, "Parks has quietly entered the top echelon of the mystery field."[26]

Bibliography[edit]

  1. Faces of the Gone (2009, ISBN 978-0312672805); Winner, 2010 Shamus Award; Winner, 2010 Nero Award
  2. Eyes of the Innocent (2011, ISBN 978-1250002280)
  3. The Girl Next Door (2012, ISBN 978-0312667689)
  4. The Good Cop (2013, ISBN 978-1250005526)
  5. The Player (2014, ISBN 9781250044082)

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2014/03/books/genre-fiction/mystery/mystery-reviews-march-1-2014/
  2. ^ "Parks returns to Ridgefield with new novel - Connecticut Post". Ctpost.com. 2011-02-18. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  3. ^ a b "US1 Home". Princetoninfo.com. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  4. ^ "Microsoft Word - 2007 Editorial Results - Daily.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  5. ^ New Jersey. "Author bases novel on a crime in Newark". NJ.com. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  6. ^ www.xuni.com. "Author Brad Parks". Bradparksbooks.com. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  7. ^ "The Private Eye Writers of America and The Shamus Awards". Thrillingdetective.com. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  8. ^ "Wolfe Pack Nero Award Recipients chronologically". Nerowolfe.org. 2012-10-27. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  9. ^ "Middlesex author wins Nero Award". Ssentinel.com. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  10. ^ "Mystery, January 2011". Libraryjournal.com. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  11. ^ Nolan, Tom (2011-01-28). "Book Review: Mysteries Chronicle - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  12. ^ "Newark Is Destination For Trouble". Fredericksburg.com. 2011-01-30. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  13. ^ "Mystery Fanfare: Left Coast Crime Awards 2013". Mysteryreadersinc.blogspot.com. 2013-03-23. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  14. ^ "Parks hits ‘trifecta’ of crime fiction authors". Ssentinel.com. 2013-03-27. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  15. ^ "Girl Next Door, by Brad Parks". Booklist Online. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  16. ^ February 27, 2012 (2012-02-27). "Mystery Reviews, March 1, 2012". Reviews.libraryjournal.com. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  17. ^ "for Readers for Tuesday, March 20, 2012". Shelf Awareness. 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  18. ^ Wright, John C. (2013-04-15). "Best Fiction Books of 2012". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  19. ^ "Good Cop, by Brad Parks". Booklist Online. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  20. ^ February 1, 2013 (2013-02-01). "Mystery Reviews | March 1, 2013". Reviews.libraryjournal.com. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  21. ^ Parks, Brad. "The Good Cop". RT Book Reviews. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  22. ^ [1][dead link]
  23. ^ http://crimespreemag.com/nominees-for-2014-shamus-awards/
  24. ^ http://www.bradparksbooks.com/player.php
  25. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/book-review-carter-ross-is-entangled-in-another-mystery-in-brad-parks-the-player/2014/03/23/82e924ae-aeb9-11e3-a49e-76adc9210f19_story.html
  26. ^ http://www.rtbookreviews.com/book-review/player-1

External links[edit]